GPC England GP Contract Referendum: why every vote matters

  • Media comment

Dr Lisa Harrod-Rothwell, our Deputy CEO and a GPC England rep, explains the importance of GPs making their collective voice heard.

With just under a week today until the GPC England Referendum on the imposition of the non-negotiated 2024/25 GP contract closes, I wanted to share with you why it is so important that each of us casts our vote.

As an elected GPC England representative in London, Deputy CEO of Londonwide LMCs, and a central London GP I have seen first-hand the dramatic impact of sweeping national decisions and impositions cascading at a local level. Whilst this Referendum cannot prevent the Government from choosing to impose changes to our contract, it sends a strong signal out about how the profession in the Capital and across the country feels about a potential third successive contractual imposition. Read more about the current contract changes here.

Pressures on safety and workforce

With safety in general practice a growing concern for GPs and patients alike, the time has come for those working in general practice to join with their patients and push for the resolution of systemic problems which hamper the effective and safe delivery of every day care. Foremost amongst these is the systemic undermining of the core values of general practice and the resultant spiralling attrition as we become emotionally and intellectually exhausted; distracted by multiple competing demands and no longer confident that we can maintain safe care against a headwind of increased patient need and long-standing underfunding, intense 12-plus hour days, poorly thought through national policies and scape-goating from the Government.

Staff concerns about safe practice are driving stress and worsening mental health, if we don’t find a way to address this soon GPs will continue to leave. If workforce numbers keep dropping, as I set out in our report Retention in London general practice a year ago, I fear the safety and quality of the service we offer to our patients will decline even faster.

With no recognition that we are shedding staff through burnout, ongoing unbearable workforce and funding pressures, this contract is a further raid on your ability to deliver your core essential services to patients safely. GPs and general practice staff are expected to continue to do more with less whilst costs go up and funding goes down.

Referendum key information

That is why it is critical that we work together to make our voice heard now. The Referendum being held by GPC England is open to all GPs – registrar GPs, locum GPs, employee GPs, or employer GPs – and has a single question:

Do you accept the 2024/25 GMS Contract for general practice from Government and NHS England? Yes or No.
To vote you need to be a BMA member on 21 March.
The Referendum closes on Wednesday 27 March.
Join the BMA now (before 24 March) to vote.

GPC England webinars

If you have not yet attended a Referendum webinar the remaining dates are:

All links open via Microsoft Teams and London GPs are welcome to join the two regional webinars on 20 March, the content will be the same for each.

London GPs WhatsApp group

If you haven’t already done so, you may wish to join the London GPs group – just follow this link from the phone where you have your WhatsApp account and join the group, where your elected GPC England London representatives can share information.